Journal article Open Access
Polycondensation polymers typically follow step-growth kinetics assuming all functional groups are equally likely to react with one another. If the reaction rates with the chain end can be selectively accelerated, living polymers can be obtained. Here we report on two chlorophosphonium iodide reagents that have been synthesized from triphenylphosphine and tri(o-methoxyphenyl)phosphine. The former activates aromatic carboxylic acids as acid chlorides in the presence of secondary aromatic amines and the latter even in the presence of primary aromatic amines. These reagents allow p-aminobenzoic acid derivatives to form solution-stable activated monomers that polymerize in a living fashion in the presence of amine initiators. Other aryl amino acids and even dimers of aryl amino acids can be polymerized in a living fashion when slowly added to the phosphonium salt in the presence of an amine initiator. Diblock copolymers and triblock terpolymers of aryl amino acids can be prepared even in the presence of electrophilic functional groups.